Not really landscape architecture, but today’s guest post from DM Civil Contractors does look at some of the world’s greatest achievements in construction.  Civil Engineers are an important part of many of our landscape projects and today we acknowledge that importance with some breathtaking examples of their work!

6 of the Most Impressive Civil Engineering Projects

To create a civil engineering process that’s defined as impressive; imagination and practicability need to be fed through architecture art, design and construction. Civil engineers are responsible in working closely with the architect to plan, design and test some of the most amazing structures we have seen to date.

But what makes a project truly impressive? What is it that sets it apart from one that is great, to one that is absolutely spectacular? Michael Caltabiano, CEO of Australian Asphalt Pavement Association (APPA) believes they must always have that ‘wow’ factor. “Impressive projects are the ones that solve immensely difficult problems with apparently simple solutions”, he articulates. “These simple solutions are often innovative, technically advanced and world leading”.

With that in mind, we check out some of the most impressive civil engineering projects worldwide. In one way or another, these projects have all captivated through a solid mix of technical innovations and practical and breathtaking design.

1. Great Wall of China

Consisting of over two million stone blocks, the construction behind the Great Wall of China took over 2,000 years to build. At 8,850km in length its creation is the longest in the entire world – and most impressively – it’s all manmade. The Great Wall of China required constant labour of 30,000 workers to build; and has been rebuilt, merged and expanded between the 15th and 17th century to give you one of the most striking structures that stands today.

As far as projects go, this one really has been built with the blood, sweat and tears of workers. Starting in the early 7th century BC the Great Wall of China was known as ‘the longest cemetery on earth’ because so many people died building it – allegedly – the lives of more than one million labourers were sadly lost. Weaving through a remarkable display of mountains and scenery in the northwest of Beijing, China, The Great Wall was constructed with stone, earth, bricks and rice flour.

2. Burj Khalifia (Dubai Tower)

Standing at 828m, the centrepiece of Dubai is the tallest free-standing structure worldwide. Making it truly impressive, the tower holds seven world records in total including highest number of stories in the world and the highest occupied floor in the world.

The 160+ storey building is a $20 billion development that was completed into the night too so workers could avoid the extreme daytime temperatures. In total, over 22 million man hours went into the construction of the tower. For such a building of its height and slenderness, wind forces became an engineering obstacle and a dominant factor in the structural design.

Extensive wind tunnelling tests were conducted to evaluate the impact on the building, construction cranes, building behaviour and occupant comfort. Since its development, the Dubai Tower has become a project notorious for it cutting-edge technologies and unprecedented structure in all aspects.

3. Eiffel Tower

Completed in 1889, the Eiffel Tower in France was the highest structure worldwide at its time standing at 300m. Whilst it has since then been overtaken in height, it’s probably one of the most impressive buildings that’s not preoccupied by beauty.

The Eiffel Tower was originally constructed only for the duration of the Exposition (6 months – Colonial Exhibition) but has firmly held its place to this day despite fears it didn’t fit into the surrounding architecture renowned to Paris. In the eyes of many artists, the structure lacks individuality and it’s definitely not considered a building that is ‘beautiful’ per se. With a total of 18,038 individual pieces of cast iron used to construct the tower, it does give off a cold and harsh appearance.

That being said though, there is no denying how truly impressive this structure looks. It flairs its own exquisiteness and Paris wouldn’t be the same without it.

4. Laerdal Tunnel

West Norway is the home to the world’s longest and greatest tunnel weaving in at 24.5km. Costing $163 million to build, the 20 minute drive showcases the spectacular Hornsnipa and Jeronnosi mountain range and some of the most impressive engineering features of all time. Built as a connection between Laerdal and Aurland, this uniquely designed tunnel is more than just your standard project – or drive.

Because of its length, engineers needed to take driving distractions into careful consideration. The construction process implemented a series of curves to keep the driver alert and aware and provided three pull over points to allow the drive to stop and rest. Throughout the process, the engineers worked closely with a team of psychologists to prevent the “highway hypnosis”. This innovation of behavioural science was not just effective in driver safer, but also made the tunnel a huge tourist attraction.

As far as projects go, the Laerdal tunnel is characteristic and breathtaking – both in terms of its engineering features and stunning cave views. Divided into four sections that switch between actual tunnels to caves, the journey comes alive with a display of yellow and blue lighting.

5. Songjiang Hotel

Currently being built in an abandoned water-filled pit in China, this 5-star luxury waterfall hotel is a unique project like no other. This impressive underground hotel is due for completion in early 2015 and has already blown people away with its extravagant design and so far, $555 million price tag.

Overlooking a sunken lake the hotel will cling to the sides of the quarry and come complete with a 100 metre high waterfall. Two of the hotel’s lower levels will be submerged in water and if that’s not enough – the hotel also includes a 10 metre deep aquarium and an underwater restaurant.

The design was created by the largest British Civil Engineering Company (Atkins) who has also been responsible for its construction. Civil engineers working on the project have gone to great measures to consider the surrounding environment of the hotel and have implemented ‘green designs’ into the project. Some of these include green roofing and the hotels ability to convert its own geothermal heat into heating and electricity. Amanda Bryan, Senior Sustainability Engineer at Wood & Grieve Engineers articulates what really defines a ‘green’ project. “Innovative projects that strive for ‘green design’ help re-establish the building industry’s sustainable focus”, Ms Bryan says. “Change is needed and green design is a catalyst that will help create this transformation in the building industry”.

6. Webb Bridge

Classified as one of the most uniquely looking bridges, the Webb Bridge – a competition-winning design – is part of a Melbourne public art project. Reusing the previous sections of the Webb Rail Bridge, its impressive design is brought to life at night with dramatic lighting and flair.

Designed by Architects Denton Corker Marshall, the project was completed just last year as a means for pedestrians and cyclists to cross over the Yarra River. At 145m long, Webb Bridge is a project that’s transitional and vibrant with a structure that connects the old with new, past with the present.

Author Bio

This article is written by Jayde Ferguson, who writes for DM Civil Contractors based in Perth, Western Australia – providing the most tailored and sustainable civil contracting solutions to Australia’s leading companies.

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